A long time ago in a church far, far away … OK, our first church (also called St Stephen’s) as a married couple. The minister spoke broad Aberdonian – almost as unintelligible as Transylvanian! Anyway, Jim suggested the Alpha course.
I prepared my defences – I was already a Christian and there was decent football on the tv. He just asked quietly if going to church on Sunday was ‘enough.’ If I simply opened my heart and mind to Jesus during this course, might it be possible that it would please Jesus? Might it be possible that He would bless me for seeking Him?
In the congregation, I knew a few folk, nodded hello to a few other folk and generally just got on with going to church then getting on with my life (my prayer time and my fellowship was my own business).
I started off attending Alpha – helped hugely by there being a feast of a meal as part of the proceedings. It was so interesting and involving that I soon chose to up my level; no longer just ‘attending’ I was now ‘participating in Alpha.’ I got talking to people I hadn’t really talked to, despite sitting alongside them ever since going to that church (and I don’t just mean Elspeth). Relationships were created, strengthened and developed – THIS was fellowship, not just ‘doing’ church on a Sunday. We started to be even more of a family.
And then I realised that, whatever else was happening, I was the one who was benefitting. I was trying desperately to say “it’s all about you, Jesus” and to realise I had a church family, and yet I found I was being blessed with an inner maturity (yes, even me!) as I took time to acknowledge the Holy Spirit.
What did we do? There was a presentation (we’ll do this as a video we watch together on-line) and then, in our small groups (break out rooms), we just chatted – usually keeping roughly on topic. Some people were happy to speak ; others just soaked up the chat. But we all grew together, bouncing thoughts and questions off each other.
So I did it for Jesus, and to help grow into a Church Family. But ultimately it was for me.
SSCB On-line Alpha: try it.
[from Timothy Pitt]
Our Online Alpha Course starts at 19:00 on Tuesday, 6 April and in eight sessions and The Weekend continues till the end of May.